Showing posts from April, 2021

Reluctant Guru and Spiritual Anarchist - How “Zen” was Krishnamurti?

 Over two weeks we had the opportunity to discuss the very influential 20th century spiritual teacher Jiddu Krishnamurti in the Zeninlondon Wednesday evening discussion group. One of our regulars has even listened to Krishnamurti in person when he was still alive in the 1980s. Kirshnamurti’s legacy now lives on through several books and many videos on YouTube, a number of which we looked at during our sessions. As Westerners, we tend to see more or less the same type of wisdom in all kinds of oriental spiritual teachings. It is therefore not surprising to spot several real or apparent similarities between Krishnamurti’s books and lectures and the tradition of Zen Buddhism. Looking at kindred and yet different schools of thought allows us to deepen our understanding of Zen Buddhism by recognising similarities, but also differences. Jiddu Krishnamurti has an amazing biography (Wikipedia, Butler-Bowdon, p. 153). He was born around 1895 in Madras to Brahmin parents. At the age of 15, Krish

Meditation as a Sacrament - Master Dōgen’s Fukan Zazengi

 Master Dōgen’s Fukan Zazengi is probably the best introduction to the practice of Zen meditation that one can find. Written almost 900 years ago in Japan following Dōgen’s study tour to China, it is timelessly concise. Credit to several modern translators and commentators, this text is easily accessible to those seeking to learn about authentic Zen practice in the 21st century. The title Fukan Zazengi - 普勸坐禪儀 – literally means “Universally recommended instructions for zazen” (Sōtō Zen Text Project, p. 69). And it is just that: an almost IKEA-style step-by-step manual on how take the correct posture and practice Zen meditation. Zazen - 坐禪 – means “to sit” ( za - 坐) and “meditation” ( zen - 禪). So, zazen is usually understood as “seated meditation”. The word zen (禪) has been imported as chan into Chinese from the Sanskrit dhyāna where it describes a practice of concentration. Zen is the Japanese rendering of the Chinese chan which eventually become the key term of the Chan or